Here are some of the choice things said to me recently by friends and family (and one stranger):
As I was on my way to the gym:
“I so admire you, Nancy. I could never leave the house looking like that.”
As I was entering a dressing room to try on bathing suits:
“Are you gonna fit in those?”
As I was saying goodbye to a mother who had come to my apartment to pick up her child from a playdate:
“Is this space adequate for you? With two children? You find this adequate?”
As I was discussing a family issue with a relative on my husband’s side:
“Well, you’re an outsider, so you can’t really understand.”
As I was debating putting up bookshelves in my kitchen:
“Well if you want it to look like a cook book shop in here, go ahead.”
As I was putting a meal in front of my nine year old.
“It’s OK Mommy, but it’s not the best.”
As I explained to a stranger that I only had one dog.
Well that’s just ridiculous! He deserves someone too! That’s selfish! You’re a selfish woman!
What’s going on, here? Since when did I become a punching bag for everybody in town?
I know, I know, these are stressful times, and people are on edge. But honestly, do they all have to take it out on me?
What’s really freaking me out is that these comments are coming from people who are supposed to be my pals, my buddies, my support system. Good thing they’re not my adversaries. What would they say then? Plus, all of the comments (save the one from my OWN SON) come from other women.
Why is it that women often hurt each other more than they help each other? The woman in the bathing suit situation, for example, might have said something like “Oh – I hate trying on bathing suits! Good luck! I’m sure you’ll look great.” Thereby commiserating, supporting, and positively reinforcing me all with a few phrases. Instead, she went for the kill.
The woman with the problem with my (perfectly adequate, thank you) apartment might have said…well, how about NOTHING!!!!! Just “thanks for the playdate” buh-bye. What makes people think I want to hear their opinion about my life, my clothes or anything else they choose to pick on.
But I learned long ago that you can’t make people say what you’d like them to say — or not say. I can, however, in the hindsight of the blogosphere, say what I wanted to say (but didn’t) to these perfectly nasty women.
To the mother who endlessly (and snidely) comments on what I’m wearing:
Well, not all of us are so shallow that we only care about how we look.
To the friend (friend!) who is concerned about my bathing suit size
I’m going to try these on and see. But it’s nice to know your foot fits into your mouth without a problem.
To the “omg, you live in a hovel” mom:
It’s plenty roomy as long as you and your superiority aren’t taking up space.
To the family member who thinks I’m an outsider:
You mean I’m not one of the family? Great! Now I won’t have to see you again.
To the cook book hater:
I’ve eaten at your house, honey. Trust me, you could use a trip to a cook book shop.
To my kid:
You don’t like it? Don’t eat it. (Actually, I did say that one. Yay me.)
To the stranger:
Well, really there was nothing to say. I honestly believe she was crazy. And when you’re truly off-kilter (perhaps the purple hat with the large feather plume should have tipped me off) the only comeback is to smile and walk away.
Bottom line? Well, it may be an old cliche but it’s a good one: if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it. And I’d add my own: And if someone has something not nice to say, zing it right back at ’em!